COLUMN: The Worst of 2013

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees.

<em>“Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”</em>

—Romans 12:9

There is no time of the year better for people who live for lists than December and January. It is list Heaven. Not only do we have the usual best and worst of the outgoing year, but also many of the nominations for awards in music, television and especially movies come forward in a cascade of retrospective bliss.

I find myself choked with irony that one week after I published a column talking about avoiding negativity that I should opine on the very worst things to happen in this calendar year. I am going to take a “glass half-full” approach to this by remembering that next week’s column will be the very best things to have occurred.

And so, while this might not be a list of things that were the absolute worst events of the year, they are the ruminations most prevalent in my mind.

* Few “true crime” stories ever reach the raw emotional levels that the George Zimmerman trial achieved. Zimmerman was tried and cleared for murdering Trayvon Martin, a black teenager whom Zimmerman claimed attacked him. If you looked at the accepted facts of the case, this should have never have gone to trial. Most of what was proven said Zimmerman was attacked and defended himself.

But we live in an age of instant emotional feedback. We ignore facts and go “with our gut.” And the media was willing accomplices in forwarding the narrative that Martin was a good kid just walking home from the store. He wasn’t a good kid. And while Zimmerman appears to be a fairly unlikeable person, as an American he deserved better than to be tried and convicted by journalists who willfully were derelict in their duty to report the story fairly.

* If you think that Edward Snowden is a hero then you are an idiot. The traitor and coward who released sensitive intelligence that compromised America’s security is now an asylee living in Russia. A hero does not run away from his actions. And while the revelations Snowden brought forth shows an overzealous use of spying by the US government, any moral high ground Snowden might have claimed was vacated by his readiness to claim victimhood while seeking refuge in countries that mean America harm.

* Staying in Mother Russia, it is hard for anyone to think of them as an ally of the U.S. Vladimir Putin’s nationalistic ideology has created a Cold War mentality. Putin has continuously snubbed his nose at the effete, ineffectual intellectual American president. And to make his reputation even worse, he has cracked down on homosexuality.

Yes, all the problems that Russia faces and he is worried about gays. He has banned the flying of the rainbow flag as well as giving children any information that could be consider “pro-gay.” For all of his oozing masculinity, Putin has a thin skin. Of course, there is nothing Putin says about this subject that I do not hear on a frequent basis living in Utah. The homophobia espoused by a former communist KGB agent sounds disturbingly familiar to the polemics brought forth by Utah’s Sutherland Institute and Eagle Forum.

* Alec Baldwin is a good actor, but one of the lousiest human beings alive, a hypocrite and a bully to the Nth degree. His New Year’s resolution for 2014 should be to quit Twitter and stop using homophobic language to insult people.

* Baldwin briefly had a TV show on the propaganda network that goes by the name MSNBC. When it was not intentionally skewering stories about Trayvon Martin, Obamacare, the government shutdown or allowing for its commentators to call for politicians they disagree with to be forcefully defecated in their mouth, they were watching their ratings plummet to embarrassing lows. If NBC News does not completely sever ties with MSNBC, then a pox should fall on their house as well.

* No column I published this year received as much heat as my “I Hate BYU” rant. Many who commented on the article tried to psychologically dissect my motives. My motives were clear: I wanted to discuss my hatred for BYU. But then BYU beat my beloved Utah State Aggies in football and basketball.

I call things as I see it. BYU was far and away the better team in both sports. And that upsets me. Now that the University of Utah believes their membership in the Pac-12 conference turns their farts into jasmine-scented bunny rabbits, USU and BYU have a legitimate chance to make themselves into a true in-state rivalry.

For that to happen, my beloved Aggies have to beat BYU. And every year they don’t is a bad year.

* I would be remiss if I did not mention the train wrecking ball that is Miley Cyrus. The scuzzy singer, who Maxim magazine named the hottest woman alive, continues to remain famous by taking Madonna’s playbook on shock value and updating it to fit our modern social media crazed society.

We make her famous by feeding her celebrity. But we won’t be ignoring her anytime soon. And so her continuing punk-slut behavior will be in our faces for years to come.

* As a quick hodgepodge to the big finish, allow me to mention that anyone who names their child North West should be smacked in the face, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are liars, CNN is now useless and the Boston Marathon bombing was a terrible event made worse by a media that insists on emotionally manipulating us during terrible events.

* But the unquestioned worst event of 2013 was Obamacare. The website did not work. The personal information on the website can be easily compromised. The health care plans are no better than what is currently offered on the private market. You may pay more. You may lose your doctor. And your employers might throw you off your plan and force you to buy this inferior product.

And 2014 looks to be an even worse year for an entitlement that was never fully fleshed out. Congress passed this monumentally flawed law to give President Obama a victory. I doubt they feel like winners now. And too many Americans are going to pay a dear price for such short-sighted vanity.

Next week, the best of 2013.

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